Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ballmer makes sure Hu knows: 90 percent of Microsoft software in China is pirated

How bad is Chinese piracy of Microsoft software? Reportedly, 90 percent of Microsoft software used in China is pirated.

That's what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said when joining a number of U.S. and Chinese business leaders for a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Although his exact words were not revealed, President Obama used the statistic at a later press conference. He said:
Some of it has to do with intellectual property protection. So we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China. And so can we get better enforcement, since that is an area where America excels -- intellectual property and high-value added products and services.

And the Chinese government has, to its credit, taken steps to better enforce intellectual property. We’ve got further agreement as a consequence of this state visit. And I think President Hu would acknowledge that more needs to be done.
In addition to hitting Microsoft's bottom line, frequently pirated software is not updated as often, leading to easy targets to be turned into botnets. Although President Hu might acknowledge more must be done, it's unclear what those steps will be.

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